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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ACCRA928
2005-05-11 15:19:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

REFUGEE REFERRAL FOR TOGOLESE OPPOSITION

Tags:   PREF  PHUM  TO  GH 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


ACTION PRM-00   

INFO  LOG-00   AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  INL-00   DNI-00   
      DODE-00  EAP-00   EB-00    FO-00    H-00     TEDE-00  INR-00   
      IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     CAC-00   NRC-00   NSAE-00  NSCE-00  
      OES-00   OIC-00   OIG-00   PA-00    MCC-00   GIWI-00  PRS-00   
      P-00     FMPC-00  SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  
      DRL-00   G-00     SAS-00   SWCI-00    /001W
                  ------------------ED011F  111532Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY ACCRA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8531
INFO AMEMBASSY COTONOU 
AMEMBASSY LOME
						C O N F I D E N T I A L ACCRA 000928 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR PRM/A

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2015
TAGS: PREF PHUM TO GH
SUBJECT: REFUGEE REFERRAL FOR TOGOLESE OPPOSITION
POLITICIAN KOFI OKOUTA

REF: 03 STATE 326248

Classified By: POLCHIEF SCOTT TICKNOR FOR REASON 1.4 (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Embassy Accra requests authorization for a
refugee referral to the U.S. resettlement program on behalf
of Togolese opposition party activist Dr. Kofi Biayewa Okouta
and his family of seven, who have taken refuge in Ghana.
They have presented credible evidence of persecution based on
their political opinion. Okouta spoke of 50 rapes and
substantial property damage in his hometown of Atakpame. End
summary.



2. (C) Post's refugee referral is for Dr. Kofi Biayewa
OKOUTA (DPOB: 31DEC1944, Kambole, Togo) who has taken refuge
in Ghana with the following seven family members:

Spouse: Delphine Modoukpe OKOUTA (DPOB: 31DEC1946, Kambole,
Togo)
Daughter: Ilenikou Rose OKOUTA (DPOB: 30DEC1970, Kara, Togo)
Daughter: Ariyatan OKOUTA (DPOB: 20FEB1972, Kara, Togo)
Daughter: Adebola OKOUTA (DPOB: 12MAY1976, Lome, Togo)
Son: Sourou OKOUTA (DPOB: 08APR1982, Koumea, Togo)
Daughter: Kabinin OKOUTA (DPOB: 06APR1985, Amlame, Togo)
Son: Marc Edem Yao NYADJOGBE (DPOB: 25APR2002, Atakpame,
Togo).



3. (C) Dr. Okouta completed his studies at the University of
Lome in 1978, graduating as an M.D. In 1991, he openly
joined the opposition political party known as CAR (Comite
d'Action pour la Renouveau, or Action Committee for Renewal).
One year later, the military bombed his first residence,
resulting in his daughter losing a finger and two other
non-lethal casualties. During the June 1998 elections, Dr.
Okouta was detained for one month because of his involvement
in opposition politics. During that time he was beaten and
tortured at the Prison Civil de Lome.



4. (C) On April 27, 2005, the same day election results were
announced, Togolese military entered Dr. Okouta's property
without forewarning and set his home ablaze, according to
Okouta. The family took refuge with sympathetic neighbors.
Two days later, the military torched the medical clinic where
Dr. Okouta worked as a general practitioner. With the help
of their parish priest, the family drove to Lome, then
crossed the border into Ghana at the Akanu crossing point,
several miles north of Lome. The family registered with
Ghana Immigration and UNHCR, then took refuge at an
undisclosed site. We became aware of Dr. Okouta's situation
through Embassy Lome, which valued the applicant as a
political contact.



5. (C) Prospects for local integration are dim. Dr. Okouta
would have to repeat years of study in Ghana in order to be
recertified to practice medicine in Ghana. Because of this
onerous requirement, the Embassy is not aware of any
foreigner who has succeeded in obtaining a medical
certification in Ghana. Dr. Okouta also believes he would
not be safe if he remained here.



6. (C) Repatriation is not an option, as the applicant has
a well-founded fear of persecution due to his political
opinion. Human rights abuses in Togo are well documented in
the annual human rights report as well as in recent
election-related reporting by Embassy Lome. Dr. Okouta told
Refcord that he knew of the rapes of approximately 50 women,
some of them underage, and the wholesale destruction of
property in his hometown of Atakpame, an opposition
stronghold north of Lome with a population of 64,000. Thus,
we believe resettlement represents the only appropriate
durable solution for this family.



7. (C) Comment: Okouta's fears for his safety here appear
to us to reflect a certain degree of paranoia. There were
several cases years ago of prominent Togolese being murdered
in Ghana allegedly by Eyadema agents. In the past few years,
however, we are unaware of any Togolese opposition figures in
Ghana who have been threatened, kidnapped, or killed. End
comment.



8. (C) PRM's consideration of this request is greatly
appreciated.
YATES


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